For anyone who has ever doubted the existence of mental illness, specifically bipolar disorder (manic depression), this memoir will surely put that idea to rest. Terri Cheney, author of Manic was living the high life as an entertainment lawyer in Los Angeles, working with clients as Universal Studios and Michael Jackson when she was trying to privately cope with a mental illness. Cheney wascreative, charming, attractive, and struggling with bipolar disorder.
She ultimately left her job and told of her dark journey of her daily existence grappling with the “highs” and “lows” of manic depression. Cheney’s memoir takes the reader on an exhilarating ride as she experiences the roller coaster emotions only a true manic depressive can; flying fourteen kites in the middle of a thunderstorm or staying secluded indoors and not bothering to eat for up to a week at a stretch.
I was a star in the making--cold and chilly, with a
calculated twinkle. It was a favorite conceit of
mine to have fresh flowers in my office, a touch
of feminity to offset my no-nonsense pinstripes
and neutered smile. And not just a single token
rose, either, but armfuls of the rarest, most fragrant
or flamboyant blooms I could find: red parrot
tulips, delicately scalloped at the edges; or orchids
so fleshy they bordered on the obsene.
My hair turns lank and oily, the sheet grow stale
and tiny demons ooze from all over my pores.
Statistics released by the National Institute of Mental Health reveal that 5.7 million Americans suffer with manic depression. Moreover, of those 5.7 million diagnosed, many will attempt suicide at least one time.
Author Terri Cheney ultimately left her very visible and intensely pressured job as an attorney, but fortunately for us she has a gift for words and crafted her message of hope.
Cheney reveals intimate details of her struggle with the “highs” or manic behavior as well asthe “lows” including profound depression, hospitalizations, and electroshock therapy (ECT). Cheney’s story is not one with a “happily ever after” ending, it is one of compassion and resilience. Today Cheney lives in Los Angeles and serves on the advisory board for the UCLA Mood Disorders Research Program. She also started a weekly support group at the Neuropsychiatric Institute of UCLA.
Manic: A Memoir is a fascinating read and one that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page.
The above review was contributed by: Shelley Bueche: Shelley is a nonfiction book reviewer for Book Pleasures and a number of other media-related outlets. She enjoys reading memoirs, books about Texas and books with canine-related themes. Shelley is a freelance reporter and writes children’s book for the educational market. For more information, visit her website. Click Here to read Shelley's reviews.
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